The Los Angeles Dodgers have led the Majors in payroll each of the past four seasons, which has come with surpassing the luxury tax threshold each year. But change is afoot.
The Dodgers have put an emphasis on remaining below the threshold for the 2018 season, as it would reset their luxury tax penalty from 50 percent on the overage to 20 percent. With that has come a lack of spending from the deep-pocketed organization.
While it may not be what the fans want, as reigning National League MVP Giancarlo Stanton get traded to the New York Yankees, getting below the luxury tax puts the Dodgers in a much better place going into next winter’s offseason when the free-agent class is the best it has been in years.
In a recent appearance on “Lunchtime” with Roggin and Rodney of AM 570 L.A. Sports Radio, Dodgers president Stan Kasten discussed what the advantages will be if they remain under the luxury tax threshold, although he did add that they would be willing to go over for a player they feel is worth it:
“If it winds up that we’re under then there will be tremendous advantages for building teams in the future. If we see something that makes us want to go over, it’s because we decide that is our best case for ’18 and for beyond. So it doesn’t mean that we’re not going to do anything, but if, for instance, we were to go over again this year and stay in the 50 percent bracket, just imagine trying to add a $30 million player, that would be a great player, an extraordinary player, one of baseball’s best players, but he’s costing us $45 million. I don’t know anyone that thinks a player’s worth $45 million because there would be the 50 percent tax.”
As it currently stands, the Dodgers payroll for the 2018 season is around $181 million, which is below $197 million threshold. However, that’s without potentially re-singing Yu Darvish or any other additions.
Los Angeles still has a desire to trade Matt Kemp, who is set to make north of $20 million, so that would free up some more money to spend. Although trading Kemp may not be that easy due to the enormity of his contract.
So it will be interesting to see what other moves the front office makes this offseason and how close they get to that $197 million threshold.